| Go Climb a Mobile Rock
By George McConnell Jun 11, 2007
Why climb? “Because it’s there” is the famous response about the reason for wanting to climb Mt. Everest. In this day and age, however, it’s not surprising that if you can’t get to the rock, you can go online and have the rock delivered to you.
Climb On! Mobile Climbing Entertainment can bring rock,
climbing equipment right to your back yard
or anywhere you might want them.
Photo: Courtesy of Climb on! Mobile Climbing Entertainment
Charles Whitwam has just such a rock – a 28-foot 3000-pound rock to be precise — and he can bring it right to your front yard or nearly anywhere else you want. He owns Climb On! Mobile Climbing Entertainment, and in the field of sports entertainment, it’s something of a rarity. There aren’t that many mobile rock-climbing companies around. Currently, Climb On is the only one in the Bay Area. Outside the Bay Area, you can find one in Watsonville and Auburn (near Sacramento), and maybe one or two down in Southern California, Whitwam says.
Climb On has been around for over 10 years. Whitwam bought the company last year after he had been working there a while.
“We do corporate events, company parties, fairs, birthday parties and summer camp, and music festivals. We do about 200 events a year, and some of our clients have included GMC, Land Rover and Sports Illustrated,” he said.
Rocks have been here since the year of the flood, but the sport of rock climbing dates back to nineteenth century England, according to the website, rockclimbing.com, when a chap named Walter Smith solo climbed a little something called the Napes Needle. Competition began shortly after and rock-climbing groups began forming in the 1930’s.
Scaling a vertical piece of stone that can rise thousands of feet high with the possibility of falling isn’t for everyone, however. Either you want to do it or you don’t. Climbing a rock may seem deceptively simple. It takes strength and control to pull yourself along, but because it involves using your brain to figure out where to put your hands and feet, a certain amount of nuance and finesse is required, states rockclimbing.com. You can add to that a bit of moxie, too.
Half the sport is learning how to properly place the highly specialized safety equipment that catches you when you fall, say the experts.
But sport climbing, where protective pieces are permanently bolted into the rock, is different. The climber doesn’t need to carry protection equipment and it’s much faster and safer, and less expensive.
And to make the whole thing even easier, if you don’t want to battle the weather, there are places where you can learn and practice rock climbing indoors in the comfort of a climate-controlled environment on an artificial mountain, such as Mission Cliffs on Harrison Street with their 50’ headwall, for example.
Climb On’s rock – or wall – can accommodate up to five climbers, and it can also metamorph to different angles, and the handholds and footholds can be reconfigured to change routes to handle various levels of expertise, said Whitwam.
“We can set up routes to challenge even the most athletic and experienced climber,” he said.
But what about the potential problem of someone getting stuck along the way? “They can’t get stuck,” he said, “all they have to do is just let go of the wall and they float down.” This is thanks to a hi-tech device called an automatic belay system, or a rope that holds you in place to keep you from falling.
“We’ve had people wait over an hour in line to get their turn,” Whitwam said. And age doesn’t seem to enter into the equation either. “We’ve had children as little as 6 and as old as 75 make it to the top,” he said.
Climb On provides an experienced staff, all the necessary safety equipment, and insurance. Their territory ranges from Morgan Hill to Modesto to Santa Rosa to Sacramento, said Whitwam.
For more information on Climb On! Mobile Rock Climbing Entertainment, visit www.climbingwall.com or call 1-888-98-CLIMB.
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